Monday, September 12, 2016

Illustrating The Gentleman … I ink, therefore I am




Another process post for one of the 17 pictures I did for Forrest Leo's novel, The Gentleman

Books about books are always fun and The Gentleman is very much about other books: Dante, Tennyson, James Cabell, the entire  Beerbohm/Wodehouse cabal, it's all grist for this particular literary mill. Which brings us to Chapter 6, where the two main protagonists meet for the first time. Naturally, they meet in a bookstore whilst drinking tea (what else?) and it's not any ordinary bookstore, it's Tompkin's Bookstore, an emporium of all that is recondite and obscure and generally very cool about books and reading.

Here's my rough thumbnail, final pencil and final inks for this chapter … a stonehenge of biblioliths from which the inventor Kensington emerges, lit by a single spot, in the approved Gustave Doré manner.

Like certain North American chain bookstores, Tompkin's Bookstore also sells the usual accessory tchotchkes and fanfreluches, but not of the dreaded scented candle type, no, Tompkins only offers the finest oneiric baubles and creatures that dreams can buy.

And dreams are really what books (and books about books) are all about. They are the universal, biological template of storytelling and more to the point, they are stories told by the same person that they are meant to entertain, a recursive ploy similar to drawing a picture for a book-about-books.

Pretty heavy stuff for a book about sending one's wife to hell but I draw 'em as I see 'em, with eyes wide shut.